tv Headline News RT August 5, 2013 5:00pm-5:31pm EDT
the list of washington's unilateral perceived interests and given the trends should americans be learning spanish. coming up on our t.v. a new report reveals how house members were left in the dark about the vice of court and members of congress are pushing for legislation that would allow internet companies to reveal information about the data requests they get from the government more on these developments ahead. plus there's another expansion of the surveillance state in the u.s. this time it's the drug enforcement administration will dive into what the agency is accused of doing coming up. and the supreme court ruled that california must release nearly ten thousand prisoners from its overcrowded prison system the release will come as a mass hunger strike continues in some california prisons and update on both stories later on in the show.
hello there it is monday august fifth five pm here in washington d.c. i'm aaron eight and you're watching our two. new reports over the weekend from the guardian show that house members looking for more information about the price of courts were turned down by the house intelligence committee repeatedly now according to these reports the house intel committee also considered censuring congressman alan grayson of florida for distributing guardian reports of n.s.a. slides now this is information already published in a major international newspaper the two house members representative morgan griffith of virginia and representative alan grayson who repeatedly requested information about the n.s.a. from the house intelligence committee both congressmen were denied access by the committee which turned down their request with a secret voice vote which they also were not allowed to see the two congressmen sent their attempts to get the information to the guardian meanwhile as lawmakers are seeking more information about the intelligence community's actions the
introduction of legislation intended to create more transparency around surveillance continues friday congresswoman zoe lofgren of california introduced the surveillance order reporting act the act intends to quote permit periodic public reporting by electronic communications providers and remote computer service providers of certain estimates pertaining to requests or demands by federal agencies under the provisions of certain surveillance laws or disclosures of such estimates is or may be otherwise for hit by law now the bill if passed into law would be a small step towards truly exposing how government spying programs work and one is done with the user's data currently being siphoned from consumer tech companies to discuss the issue i was joined earlier by political commentator sam sachs and i started by asking him what makes this bill different from all the other anti government surveillance bills that have recently been proposed in congress. because to see two avenues developing here we have legislation that tries to bring more
transparency into n.s.a. program and into the pfizer court and that's kind of what congresswoman zoe lofgren this bill is doing. we heard of arise in the court or the four surprise to hand over millions of customers information over to the government what. would do is allow companies like arisan internet companies phone companies to make public just how many requests they're getting for the go from the government to hand over their users data and how many users are being affected by that senator al franken in the senate has similar legislation that would do that as well as and also force the government to reveal just how many how many people are being affected by these this kind of these surveillance programs and then all this other avenue you have people trying not just to add more transparency but to actually rein in the n.s.a. you have congressman rush holt to repeal the patriot act in the fires amendments act you have senator leahy the chair of the judiciary committee trying to shrink section to fifteen kind of. you know make it more restrictions on what the n.s.a.
can do with that section so you kind of see these two different avenues forming on congress of what to do with edward snowden's leaks essentially interesting now what would this bill give tell what this bill give telecommunications companies the right to deny the government access to any requests you know this is it just simply going to allow them to tell in these telecommunications companies are put on a gag order when they receive this order they can't tell who their users that they're handing over their information they can't tell anyone this bill would allow these companies to at least reveal how many of their users are being affected by this but still the telecom communications companies there's all sorts of tricks that the government uses to make sure that they play ball to hand over the data that they want now first event foremost how do these latest revelations kind of jive with the previous claims that were made by the president of the intel committee that members have a nuff information about these programs to condemn. proper proper oversight is that just nonsense do they have enough when they'd be asking for more if they had
another is it i mean piers that most members don't have near the amount i mean the president said that congress has oversight will congress it requires all of congress to pass legislation it's not just a select group of members on the both intelligence committees that are passing legislation so all members need to know what these programs are doing if they're going to make an informed votes but what these latest revelations show is that the intel committees are acting like gate keepers denying certain members information that they need to make a vote and you wonder whether or not it's because congressman grayson griffith's the people who asked for this information you wonder if the intel committee denied it because this information was too sensitive or if they denied it because they didn't trust these particular members with that information kind of makes for this sort of cliquey organization there in congress and ultimately this is a whole problem is we have a top secret n.s.a. program that we don't have information about we have a top secret pfizer court that rubber stamps a lot of these and say programs and now we're supposed to think that it's all ok because we have a top secret house and senate intelligence committee that's providing oversight i
don't think many people are going to go for that right now our members of the intel committee reacting to all of this well they're denying it as they would senator ruppersberger or senator or congressman ruppersberger senator chambliss and congressman king they're all members of the intelligence committees they all said oh these are members their own fault that they don't have this information we constantly make this information available that's not exactly true congressman justin amash has been sort of leading the effort to defund a lot of these honestly programs responded by saying yeah they'll send out an e-mail saying that these documents are available for three hours on this particular day if you want to show up and look at it it's doesn't really go with house protocol and how to brief members of congress on these issues ok now something that i found extremely interesting representative gray's grace and he was reprimanded or he was going to be punished they said they would punish him for distributing snowden's leaked n.s.a. power point slides what do you make of this it's pretty absurd and these are are these. these are documents that everybody who has internet access or reads the
guardian to look at. in the congressman congressman grayson in the house is saying you can't look at this the people who are again in charge of oversight can look at this this is also similar to members of the military it was reported i think last month that members of the military have access to the guardian's website blocked where they can look at these documents so really the government intelligence committee is committees are still living in denial that these documents are out there and not only should should the congressman be allowed to see these documents be showing these documents to his fellow colleagues but he has an obligation to be doing this too if he is going to be making informed votes and critical overseas right now we've seen a lot of presentation from lawmakers that based on these n.s.a. leaks which is kind of crazy it's the same lawmakers that are talking about reprimanding are punishing are doing whatever it is they can do to edward snowden what you make of this with this is an interesting kind of dynamic happening on with with lawmakers here is they want to take these leaks and they want to do something to receive ledger so flurry of legislation on top of who were guarding these leaks
the same time they want to separate the the leaks from the leaker and we've spoken with a lot of members of congress about this issue and we have a report here on how they are managing to separate edward snowden from his leaks. as far as congress is concerned sure he's a whistle blower he told us what we need to know that was congressman justin amash calling edward snowden a whistleblower giving some rare praise to the man who's change the debate in washington other lawmakers and public figures haven't been so fond of snowden so he's running to run he's no he hasn't you know absolutely he's a traitor what do you think of edward snowden i think he's a traitor some tough words for edward snowden he's a traitor that despite these objections to snowden there's legislation afoot on capitol hill right now that would have had a chance of passing or even getting a committee hearing have not been for these leaks about the n.s.a. in the pfizer court and yet there's lawmakers who've taken the most of. manager of these leaks to write this legislation are unwilling to give any praise to edward
snowden house intelligence committee member congressman adam schiff managers introduced a number of reforms to the pfizer court had with this to say about snowden we don't condone or can't condone people deciding for themselves what to declassify that would not allow us to have any kind of a national security system so i think we have to take that very seriously just as that we took the manning case very seriously on the other side of the hill senator richard blumenthal of course who's introduced his own set of eyes a court reforms for also condemned snowden's actions snowden and anyone could have raised these issues in the way that was done without breaking the law as he allegedly did but a new poll shows most americans disagree when asked if snowden is a whistleblower fifty five percent said he was thirty four percent called snowden a traitor and meanwhile other lawmakers have taken a more nuanced approach to edward snowden the congressman rush holt who's used suitings leaks to introduce the surveillance state repeal act of killing both the
patriot act in the amendments act believe snowden only broke the law in so much as the law is insufficient to protect whistleblowers in our intelligence agencies clearly he broke the law as it is part of what my legislation does is change the whistleblower protection so that people who work in the intelligence community have whistleblower protection just like employees in other parts of the federal government and we particularly need it there because so much of that work is done in secret and unless a whistleblower comes forward there's no way that you know the public or congress can know what's going on and conduct oversight so here and there had been good whistleblower projections. snowden would not be in this situation that he is now and congressman keith ellison who supported their matia amendment in plans to work with the progressive caucus. to reformat us a surveillance have this to say about snowden i think when you engage in what you
believe is. a he acted of violent civil disobedience you know then consequences are going to flow but i believe there are people who are willing to take those consequences for the greater good i think that martin luther king there was a don't arrest me you know so i think that mr stone should get some good lawyers and should argue that you know that he had that he had some legal justification for this so for the most part congress doesn't want to give edward snowden any credit but as long as they're listening to his message and acting out his message by writing legislation but it doesn't much matter what congress thinks of the messenger because ultimately both edward snowden and some of these lawmakers probably agree on one larger point that this was never about edward snowden in washington sam sacks are two. we have a quick programming note for you tomorrow is the six month anniversary of the
hunger strike at guantanamo bay and our team is planning extensive coverage. the guantanamo bay detention facility is now over eleven years old the broken presidential promises the congressional subtotal the never ending war on terror forces a spider together to keep this prison open but now a hunger strike there is the tear it all down as this hunger strike there six months or two takes a closer look at the prison just to be close. again that is tomorrow here on r.t. . now in other news a secretive drug enforcement administration it is funneling information from intelligence intercepts wiretaps informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation this data is then used to help them launch criminal investigations of american citizens now
although these cases rarely involve national security issues documents reviewed by reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how these investigations truly begin and they were told to conceal this information not only from defense lawyers but also from prosecutors and judges now the documents show that federal agents are trying to recreate the investigative path in order to effectively cover up where the information came from this is a practice that some experts say violates the defendant's constitutional rights to a fair trial that without knowing exactly how an investigation began defense lawyers are working with their hands tied behind their backs and it's close to impossible for the defendant to know what evidence to revisit and which potential sources to review all of which could reveal mistakes of biased witnesses or entrapment on the part of the prosecution now this a d. a program has been dubbed the special operations division or s.o.g. and it's comprised of over two dozen partnership agencies including the f.b.i.
cia n.s.a. internal revenue service and department of homeland security i was joined earlier by matthew feeney assistant editor at reason twenty four seven to discuss this secretive agency and i asked him how long this practice has been going on. well i mean the special operations division that it's mentioned was actually established to fight drug cartels in the ninety's i believe in latin america but since then it's grown from a couple dozen employees and of inspirations to actually now covering hundreds that's a lot and yes the something that started well over a decade ago to need to go on for this long now does this program point blank in french and some money for them rights on the information i see and i think it does i think any constitutional system that is supposed to support civil liberties should allow citizens when they charge for trying to actually view the evidence presented against them and know how it was a quiet but this doesn't actually doesn't allow for that at all and as you reported
actually agents from the d.a. are encouraged to in effect to sort of make up or to recreate the evidence against people being charged with crimes and that should worry people credible findings now the new york times this weekend they came out with a report that other agencies like the da da they've been very interested in getting n.s.a. data and this is for their own investigations but the n.s.a. has been very reluctant and has given limited data or lived up to those requests what you have to say about this i don't really care whether it's a lot of the information that they've been asking for his end of the information that's enough for especially considering the edward snowden revelations a lot of americans have probably been assuming it seems wrongly that the national security agency is actually not just concerned with national scale and national security is actually giving information to the drug enforcement administration for domestic. investigations than you would hope especially organizations like the cia
n.s.a. would be and primarily concerned with international threats to national security but it doesn't seem to be that way at all so would you say that maybe depending upon which government arm is asking for it the n.s.a. has been more generous than we thought originally was handing out. formation i mean it's certainly seems i would agree especially considering that it seems constitutional rights could have been violated i mean i'm someone who doesn't think that the da should really be around at all but if we're going to have it if there's going to be this war on drugs then let's try and keep to the constitution as much as we can. have it and much of the the s. o.d.s. work is it's classified and official officials have asked that it's precise location be identified they won't give it up and i warn virginia that they don't want to say where exactly this what your thoughts on that i mean i mean maybe i'm in a minority on this but i just think the u.s. government classified far too much information and i think we've this is was come to light last week during the private manning trial and what snowden and i just think we need to stop classifying as much information is. currently is i mean the
location of a somewhere i didn't really not sure why this is people know where the n.s.a. is people know where the cia headquarters and we people know where the president's vacation i really don't understand this overclassification level just now the d.a. have to show to have spoke on behalf of the agency but only on condition of anonymity right don't want their names out there. right now they said the process is kept secret to quote protect sources and investigative methods what are your thoughts on protecting sources and investigative methods like well you know i think that investigative methods and sources should be kept secret but you have to take home blame us for being suspicious given the amount of secrecy surrounding this i have no doubt that a lot of these investigations are very sensitive and that people's lives could be at risk if what some stuff is and kept closely on the rounds but i still think it's worth making sure that the process by which this stuff is classified well kept secret is legitimate and you know it was worked within the framework of our
constitution now do you think the da is the only government agency that is kind of using n.s.a. data or there's other agencies out there that are also using it as a kind of goes back to what we're saying about i wouldn't be surprised not so most right now probably probably more out. there right now the n.s.a. is investigating national security threats while the d.d.a. they're largely going after drug criminals and things that nature is there a difference in the way we should evaluate who gets top secret information absolutely i think that's actually really necessary and i don't really. see a investigation requires access to top secret information i mean it seems like it must be incredibly rare but it's well so the possibility but if that is the case i do think this this you know this reuters report shows that the news does need to be far more transparency about what happened and do you think do you have any thoughts on how that could happen. well look i mean the amount of talk this been recently
about classified information and government secrecy shows that i mean frankly a lot of it just seems like you could be on help at this point but you know you think there should be some sort of investigation into this but how long that would take with you even happened i don't know if you need thank you for joining us we appreciate your insight but i was matthew feeney assistant editor at reason twenty four seven. actually this and twenty cities across the country took to the streets on sunday to protest the national security administration's surveillance program it was the second day of national protest by privacy campaigners against the against the n.s.a. and similar demonstrations were held on july fourth following edward snowden's revelations about the n.s.a. spying program argy correspondent on the stasi a church was in new york city yesterday and brings us the lady latest from the rally. in over a dozen cities across the u.s. inspired by george orwell's novel nineteen eighty six for an anti utopia written
over half a century ago about mass surveillance so frightening it sends shivers down a reader spine these protesters say apparently the u.s. government is going to use it as a manual. this one is about surveillance and the fourth amendment rights you know really using our country. i'm really sad about this is one of the many demonstrations caught up tonight outraged americans are out onto the streets to demand their wives right back what do you think we're to specifically you guys can do about us and i mean do you think it's always can be then surely last this is one part of the process right here marching on the streets raising awareness for calling congressman letting them know that this is not something that we stand for and it should not be done in our name of course comes after a weekend with a couple of thirty year old law firm arrests a contractor edward snowden that we the odd national security agency was has been conducting sleeping bags and somehow millions of americans have corners around the
world and these people are now marching the streets of new york to say we want to end up in the survey with the n.s.a. is collecting information of every american regardless of whether they're suspected of doing it wrong or of any british stationery be illegal there's going to be everyone's information and the fourth amendment says if they cared to go to break there was ever reason to believe the year or have committed a crime i am very concerned about the value of surveillance that is not performed by the national security administration as we know more and more about what's going on but we still don't understand a lot of the technical details underlying it protesters are now chanting outside eighteen t.'s offices one of many companies that the n.s.a. was able to retract information from about u.s. citizens phone calls being made messages being sent the length of the phone calls being made as well as where the people were speaking all of these major concerns for u.s. citizens now coming onto the streets basically tell the government that they've had
enough and they will not stop coming out to protest until their mates message is heard we are outraged we're outraged that i'm wish still learning to what extent all of our contacts i telephone calls our. chat. lines are being monitored and we're not happy with this these protests urbanised by a place called the story of the fourth grassroots up privacy rights movement that is demanding the restoration of the first amendment to the us constitution that prohibits reasonable seizure and searches all these people are now on the streets because they say the u.s. government is really not been playing its role the way it should and has forgotten about the rights of its citizens such as the situation on our t.v. . still ahead here on our t.v. california's prisons must release some inmates the supreme court ruled that the golden state has to open its doors to prisoners to get their doors to nearly ten thousand prisoners because of overcrowding we'll tell you more after the break.
t.v. question more. welcome back now in other news a deal. bided supreme court ruled on friday that california must proceed with the release of nearly ten thousand prisoners from its overcrowded prison system the supreme court refused to grant california an extension on an order issued by the just says more than two years ago for the state to release some ten thousand inmates from its overcrowded prisons the high court's original may two thousand and eleven ruling how they can just get conditions in california is thirty three prisons amounted to cruel and unusual punishment as defined by the eighth amendment the court gave the state two years to comply with in order to free the prisoners and alleviate the overcrowding now california argue that it has made progress on the problem and should be given more time to comply last week the state said that
the process of beginning to identify thousands of inmates who are near the end of their prison terms and are at the lower risk of committing new crimes if they were released early that would be finished off in about two weeks now artie's ramon go lindo filled us in earlier on what the supreme court decisions means for the california's prison population. as you mentioned there was a divided opinion but all the efforts by the state of california to reduce its prison population what it has done over the last couple of years is reduce it by tens of thousands of people and has invested billions of dollars in health services however the supreme court says that's not nearly enough and we have to remember that a couple of years ago in their decision ordering this reduction of prisoners they said that the conditions are causing death and suffering and so if they have doubled down on their decision you can only imagine that the same is still happening right now now the department of corrections says that they're going to
fight this but the state can't i mean if if they do not reduce the population by nearly ten thousand by the end of the year the governor could be held in contempt so really right now the state's trying to come up with a plan to let go more nonviolent offenders older inmates and unfortunately going to have to ship a lot of these inmates out of state or even to private prisons you know what does it lead to california's overcrowding problem to begin with. sure well just to give you an idea of how much the inmate population has exploded in the mid one nine hundred seventy s. there were twenty thousand inmates in california state prisons that exploded to one hundred seventy three thousand in two thousand and seven at its peak that's an increase of seven hundred or seven hundred percent excuse me so this is not a problem that just happened overnight i mean this really got started with the drug war in the seventies and really in the eighty's and ninety's when there were some very high profile crimes in the news of repeat offenders that really spurred
lawmakers to be these tough on crime lawmakers just really competing to be who can be more of a. legislator really lead to more laws that really captured more of the population into the system that combined with harsher sentences and much longer terms really contributed very much to this explosion that we're seeing right now now we're going to throw a graphic up on the screen for you guys here's a look at the california prison population and the one the one point that jumped out to me currently it's at one hundred fifty percent capacity and the supreme court of the united states requires it to be at one hundred and one hundred thirty seven point five percent so basically even if the california prison system does follow the supreme court ruling will it still be way above capacity and if so what does that mean for the rehabilitation of those prisoners. no yeah i mean that's really disturbing because even if california is evil able to meet these standards
every single prison in the system is still going to be way over capacity so and we have to remember too where this this charge of cruel and unusual punishment comes from this comes from a lawsuit where inmates were suing the state because. mental inmates who have mental disabilities were not getting the proper care and just regular inmates who had any sort of is. we're an illness we're not getting the proper care and and the justices rule that there is death happening because of improper medical care so given the fact that even with their order the prisons are still going to be way over capacity there's still a lot of opportunity for for abuse going on inside there. now was r t correspondent ramon glenda thank you ramon you bet. and finally the hong kong shanghai banking corporation better known to many as h.s.b.c.
told the vatican to find another bank now the biggest bank in england told dozens of foreign missions in london that it would be closing their bank accounts more than forty embassies consulates and high commissions have been affected and even the vatican has been given its marching orders the vatican has sixty days to find a new bank to call home so why the change according to a diplomatic source who spoke to the daily mail h.s.b.c. allegedly feared being exposed to embassies after it was fined two billion u.s. dollars by u.s. authorities earlier this year now h.s.b.c. was accused of laundry money to drug cartels and terrorist organizations however h.s.b.c.'s official explanation was that the bank assessed all of its businesses and its customers and these diplomatic missions no longer fit the bill so apparently having the ear of the big guy upstairs was not enough to save the vatican from being shown the door that does it for today for more of the stories we covered go to youtube dot com slash r t america and you can check out our web site
r t dot com slash usa you can also follow me on twitter at aaron aid we'll see here later tonight eight o'clock for now take care. i would rather as questions for people in positions of power instead of speaking on their behalf and that's why you can find like bill larry king now right here on our t.v. question more.